Hurricane Alert: Gro Sees Risk to Cotton, Soybeans if Ida’s Path Veers

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A hurricane watch is in effect along parts of the Gulf coast, as Hurricane Ida is expected to intensify before making landfall later on Sunday. Current model projections have the storm narrowly missing major cotton and soybean growing areas, but that could change if the storm’s path shifts either east or west. 

This Gro Display highlights where cotton and soybeans are planted in the region. It also shows the current soil moisture levels in those areas, as well as the crops’ growth progress. Soybean pod-setting in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi is on par with historical averages. For cotton, boll-opening in Mississippi is above normal levels, and could expose that state’s crop to increased damage from excessive wind and rain. 

It’s too soon to know exactly where Ida will go, but storm surge and damaging winds could have dangerous impacts along the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi, and western Alabama, where the hurricane is expected to hit. Rainfall of 5 to 15 inches is possible for parts of Louisiana and Mississippi, including the New Orleans area. Shipping from Gulf ports and Mississippi barge traffic could be interrupted. 

Ida, currently moving at about 15 mph, is expected to drop excessive rainfall in inland parts of Louisiana and Mississippi. Big cotton and soybean growing areas along the Mississippi River are situated west of those areas, and might even benefit from the projected 2-4 inches of additional rain. 

A shift to the east by Ida, toward Georgia, could hit that area’s peanut and cotton crops. 

Hurricane Ida is expected to intensify into a potentially major hurricane before making landfall. While hurricane categories are important, they have nothing to do with rainfall. More important for precipitation amounts is the storm’s speed, and fortunately Ida is moving at a decent clip. 

By contrast, much of the damage from Hurricane Harvey in 2017 came as a result of that storm’s extremely slow pace. This Gro Display compares precipitation quantities from Hurricanes Ida (forecast), Harvey, and Katrina, in 2005. 

This insight was powered by the Gro platform, which enables better and faster decisions about factors affecting the entire global agricultural ecosystem. Gro organizes over 40,000 datasets from sources around the world into a unified ontology, which allows users to derive valuable insights such as this one. You can explore the data available on Gro with a free account, or please get in touch if you would like to learn more about a specific crop, region, or business issue.


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